Well, I knew this time would come. The DOW Jones is at an all-time high, and homebuilder stocks are on the rise. There has been talk for some time about a “Housing Recovery.” Well, it is here.
I have been an optimist about the resolve of our people, and always held the confidence that things were not always improving – but they weren’t as bad as the national media had hyped them to be. Therefore, this post is somewhat out of character for me. I don’t typically post anything “negative,” but, this morning I got a disturbing text:
Back in the mortgage business. I am with a credit union. 0 points lowest rates. You know anyone send them my way pls. [Name withheld]. [Phone withheld] Plus I pay you referral bonus each person that need my help $200.
First of all, the most disturbing part of this isn’t even the fact that offering a referral is illegal. It’s the fact that my reply was, “Who is this?” Once the person identified herself, it got more concerning… SHE DIDN’T KNOW WHO I WAS! I was “in [her] rolodex, did we do business before?”
Here it is folks. After years of mortgage, and real estate professionals alike, jumping ship to the “safe” job with a steady paycheck, they’re being lured back to the business with the idea of easy money – your money. The real estate profession has battled for years to overcome the stereotype of sleazy, cheap suit wearing slugs that looked at the buyer/seller as nothing more than a dollar sign. It’s disgusting to see some of these folks thinking they’re going to jump right back in and pick up where they left off in 2008.
I have paid my dues – along with every other agent that has fought hard for every morsel of business in this market. I still remember my wife thinking I was crazy for leaving a salaried real estate position with a large builder to venture into the unknown… in 2010! Who was getting into residential resales in 2010? Not many. I was.
I built my business by providing exemplary service for clients – buyers and sellers. Clients that I now consider friends. I don’t spend much on advertising, you won’t see me in the papers. I spend time on building relationships, sharpening the saw – as Stephen Covey calls it, the 7th Habit of Highly Effective People. I spent hours (over 240 in fact) in a classroom to acquire my brokers license. I spent more time to receive designations, such as Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Graduate, Realtor Institute (GRI), Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource (SFR).
Now, I have to fight for business on a different front. I may not be competing for mortgages – as this text I received was – but, I am all but certain that if this is starting in the lending arena, it’s already started on the purchase and sales sides.
I have a lender that I’ve dealt with for the better part of 3 years now. I deal with her for one reason – SHE DOES IT RIGHT. Would you like a reference? I could provide you with pages of references on her ability, knowledge, communication skills, patience, and (most importantly) integrity.
I have two home inspection companies I work with – for the same reason as the lender I chose. They’re professionals performing at the highest levels in their fields.
Birds of a feather flock together.
Think about who you’re working with – are they willing to sell you to a bum lender for a $200 referral fee? Are they willing to compromise your security in a transaction? What else are they doing that’s not on the “up and up”?
Ask your agent – who they deal with… why they deal with that person… do they have experience with that person… know what’s going on – it’s YOUR MONEY!
I recently had a client looking for unique financing due to the property they were looking to purchase. It consisted of a lot of farm land, so the financing changes slightly. I reached out to the people I know and asked them who’d they recommend. I then contacted the VP of lending at that bank and asked to be set up with someone on their team that could deliver. That’s how you find a lender – when you need something different. That’s professional courtesy to your client.
I was burned in my first re-sale transaction by a lender. She couldn’t get the deal closed in 45 days in 2010. That was insane. It took nearly 2 1/2 months. I was embarrassed and learned an important lesson – surround yourself with the best.
If you know me, you know I am competitive. I look at those I associate myself with as a “team.” That includes my clients. I have a lender, home inspectors, lawyers, title clerks, and insurance agents that are the best in their business. I expect that of myself – I expect that of them. Nobody is winning any Superbowls with average players.
Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
I guess, at the end of the day, I do get a “referral fee” from my associates. I get the peace of mind that my clients are taken care of – and my deals close. Maybe that’s just not enough for others.